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Alan Jackson Keeps It Country

Frederick Breedon, Getty Images

Alan Jackson has sold more than 40 million albums and won dozens of awards by singing pure country songs, and he has no plans of changing his formula for success anytime soon. The Grand Ole Opry member is aware that several of his fellow artists, like Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, have had a wider audience by creating music that is appealing on pop radio as well — but he insists that method isn’t for him.

“I don’t think they’d cross me over,” he tells The Boot. “They tried that years ago. They came to me once and wanted me to take something off, and I wouldn’t do it because I didn’t want to change my sound to be on pop radio.”

The Georgia native is quick to add that, even though he is content to be focused on country radio, he applauds artists whose music is more mainstream. “I think it’s good for the artist, of course,” he notes, “and the record label if they sell a bunch of records. I guess it’s just fine.”

One artist who has already earned high marks from the singer-songwriter is Taylor Swift, whose music has charted on country and mainstream radio all over the world. “With Taylor, it’s not hard country, but her stuff to me is not nearly as pop sounding as some of the other acts that are on country radio,” Alan explains. “Now they’re sounding more like big pop bands that I heard in the ’70s and ’80s, that kind of sound.”

Taylor was recently hand-picked to sing Alan’s award-winning tune, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” at his induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, which the honoree insists was an easy decision. “She has been real supportive of my songwriting, real complimentary,” Alan shares. “She’s a great writer. I’ve heard some people sometimes pick at her about her writing, writing about teenage type things, but even that is written well.”

The married father of three vividly recalls the first time he heard Taylor’s music. “First song I ever heard of hers was ‘Teardrops on My Guitar,’” he recounts. “I heard that song on the radio, and as soon as I heard it, I told my wife, ‘I don’t know who that is, but that’s a great song, and it’s going to be a big hit.’”

Alan’s latest single, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is in the Top 40 and steadily climbing the charts. He is busy juggling finishing up his new studio album with spending time out on the road, including several shows in Canada this week. Keep track of his concert schedule here.

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